Demonstration of the Roentgens’ Dressing Table (Poudreuse)

Words appear: “Extravagant Inventions. The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens.”
“Dressing Table Demonstration” A dressing table features marquetry – veneers intricately inset with different types of wood to form floral patterns and images. Gold colored accents embellish the table’s feet and handles. Wearing white gloves, an attendant demonstrates the table’s features. He pulls down a large panel covering one side, then uses a key to unlock a boxy section concealed underneath. The box swivels out. A decorative hook on top opens the lid. Inside, a deep tray lifts out. At the bottom, a little oblong compartment swings open. In the back of the box, two small drawers pull out. The attendant pulls on the table’s central drawer and swings out short support arms from the sides. On one side of the drawer, a long, narrow compartment swivels out. The attendant then unfolds the panels on top of the central drawer, resting the expanded width on the support arms. A rectangular section of green velvet covers the panels. In one piece, the velvet-covered panels flip up, exposing the space underneath. Several small compartments slide together. Words appear next to a view of the dressing table with all its sections in place for a sleek look: Dressing Table (poudreusse)
Abraham and David Roentgen
Date: 1769
Museum für Angewandte Kunst
Accession Number: 13877 Produced by:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Object demonstration by:
Christian Dressen Copyright 2012 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

32 Replies to “Demonstration of the Roentgens’ Dressing Table (Poudreuse)”

  1. I love history and wonder about why they would need so many tiny drawers and what was kept in them. Obviously sitting here in my t-shirt, shorts and flipflops we don't dress the way they did then, but I'd like to understand more about the daily life of those in the past.

  2. Wow, totally impractical.  Particularly the top drawer compartment concealed by the felt top pieces.  I bet this thing would cost 200,000, maybe more, it's probably priceless if it's the only of it's kind.

  3. Seems to be too complicated and delicate to be truly functional. If you put anything weighty in one of those large swing-out or slide-out compartments the entire desk might fall over on top of you. It looks dangerously unbalanced when opened.

    I wonder what the right hand side holds. Surely it's not just wasted space.

    The museum has labeled it a poudreuse (vanity) but it also appears to incorporate the features of a secretary, or writing desk. I imagine that the long narrow swing-out drawer is intended to hold pens.

  4. +The Met : i don't understand why this video is (so obviously) cut short. it IS referred to, in your own title, as a "dressing table" and yet, virtually nothing in that respect is shown — apart from the incidental view of the mirror, which is neither spotlighted (like the writing surface), nor is it even touched, let alone raised as it should be, to make a dressing table a dressing table. we were shown how this table transforms into a desk, NOT how it transforms into a DRESSING TABLE.

    the other Met videos i've seen are complete & wonderful & show the objects to their fullest glory. but this one falls amazingly short of that.

    where is the REST of this video?!

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